What do you resolve for 2016? Comments are open—feel free to share!
The Editor’s Toughest Challenge. In my view, the most regrettable copyediting disasters come in the form of errors introduced by the editor. Letting a writer’s original mistake survive is certainly cause for regret, but nothing’s worse than knowing that the work was correct until you messed it up!
A good rule of thumb is that changes to quotations are not permitted, period. So much is at stake when we present the words of someone else, whether spoken or written, and responsibility lies with the quoter to render what was said accurately and in a fair context. The actual wording of the quotation must be reproduced exactly. Yet CMOS 13.7 lists half a dozen things that are OK to change when quoting.
The Danger in Drudgery. The most mind-numbing job I ever had was in an insurance company filing papers—carts full of policies to put in numerical order, hour after hour, 1064952, 2586027, 1943902, 1064951. The only thing that kept me awake was the occasional paper cut. I’m sure they’re still looking for some of the policies I misfiled in my stupor.
Every writer or editor is faced with a mindless task now and then: alphabetizing, renumbering, abbreviating . . .
Many writers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A ask how to format lists, and two questions are especially popular:
Searching CMOS Online: Finding Your Way in The Chicago Manual of Style. Here’s a secret we’ve been trying hard not to keep: you can use the online edition to find things in the print edition even if you don’t subscribe online. Here are three ways to do that.
As a writer or editor, how many times have you heard “The main thing is to be consistent”? When it comes to hyphenating, capitalizing, italicizing, and other style choices, the best way to carry through on consistency is to keep a style sheet.
“Work-to-Rule”: Advice for Meeting a Deadline. Merriam-Webster.com defines “work-to-rule” as “the practice by workers of refusing to do any work that is not strictly required as a part of their jobs in order to protest something (such as unfair working conditions).” Well, that’s too harsh for my purposes. But it hints
CMOS: When it comes to word processing, CMOS users probably represent every level of expertise (or nonexpertise), but regardless of skill level, we all experience frustration at times when we don’t know how to accomplish a task on our computers. Often we do something the way we’ve always done it—the slow way—because it just seems too difficult or scary to try to automate it. Is there a cure?
There is a part of CMOS 7.75 that continues to trouble readers, probably because it is an exception to the general rule (stated at 6.9) that “periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single.”